By Marie Dean
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.
Way back in 1996, Bill Gates wrote a prophetic article titled “Content is King.” In it, he stated:
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.
The Internet also allows information to be distributed worldwide at basically zero marginal cost to the publisher. Opportunities are remarkable and many companies are laying plans to create content for the Internet.”
If you any respect for Bill Gates’ enormous success as a businessman, you’ll also respect his visionary thought leadership regarding content on the web.
We’ve witnessed the surge that he predicted. It’s rare to see a website these days that doesn’t include a blog to keep readers informed and bringing them back to read more. But content marketing is far more than just posting articles. It’s also about SEO, product copy, white papers, video, social media, content distribution and automation.
If you haven’t yet implemented content marketing as a major part of your digital strategy, you need to start now.
Here are a few pointers:
Focus on high-quality content creation
If you’re not focusing on creating the highest quality content, you could be doing more harm than good. Not only should your content provide value, but it should also be optimized for search results and conversions.
If you are able to do, form a division within your organization that deploys the most skilled staff members to focus solely on creating high-quality, optimized content. There are several software solutions available that can help you to streamline the content creation process to save time and manpower.
If you still don’t have the time or resources to implement content marketing, find people to do it for you.
For instance, like many busy companies, Overstock.com realized they needed to outsource some of their content projects to stay ahead of the game or risk losing out. To help with content, they brought onCrowdSource, a cloud-based platform that helps big-box companies find, curate, train and manage skilled freelancers.
Focusing on a mere 10 percent of their online catalog, 13,909 specialists classified and validated 4 million product attributes and composed optimized product and category descriptions for over 100,000 pages in just two months.
Within 30 days, Overstock’s Google rankings for targeted keywords went from sixth to fourth place. The improved rankings yielded an 84 percent increase in organic search traffic to the optimized pages.
This increase in traffic yielded Overstock an estimated $100,000 return on investment each month.
If you’re a smaller business, there’s help for you, too. There are several services out there where businesses can post project requirements and then choose between competing bidders. Businesses can hire individual writers, designers, web developers and marketing experts to create content. Two popular platforms are Upwork and Guru.
Get creative with your content marketing strategy
If you really want to make an impact and create buzz, then get creative with your content.
For example, founded by Olympic gold medal swimmer Pablo Morales and John Mix, FINIS, an innovative line of swimming gear, was looking to remain competitive and grow their brand.
FINIS knew that they had incredibly loyal fans on their side, so they tapped into that fan base to do the heavy lifting for them.
The business turned to ReadyPulse, a company that provides technology to identify the top 1 percent of brand influencers from all social and digital touchpoints, incentivize them and showcase their social-media content in “brandable” galleries and “shopable” feeds.
Using this technology, FINIS was able to identify and collect compelling content from their biggest fans and best sponsored athletes. Those fans and athletes then became powerful brand ambassadors.
After launching their “Introduce Yourself” campaign, FINIS, generated 1,511 pieces of social-media content. On average, 5.71 pieces of content were submitted by each participant. A great deal of social buzz was also generated from the campaign with 1,511 hashtag mentions that reached nearly 2.2 million viewers and engaged 38,458 consumers.